Questions From Readers
● Should a distinction be made between God’s kingdom and Christ’s kingdom? Also, since the apostle Peter refers to “the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” how is it that Jesus’ rulership comes to an end when he “hands over the kingdom to his God and Father”?—2 Pet. 1:11; 1 Cor. 15:24.
Jesus taught his followers to pray, “Let your [the Father’s] kingdom come.” (Matt. 6:9, 10) So the kingdom is God’s, but Jehovah, the “King of eternity,” has given rulership responsibilities to his only-begotten Son for a limited time and for a specific purpose. During this designated period Jesus serves as a deputy ruler sent forth from his Father’s right hand.—1 Tim. 1:17; Ps. 110:1, 2; Dan. 4:17.
In view of the rebellion of the spirit son who became the Devil, as well as of the first humans on earth, Jehovah purposed a new expression of his rulership. This would be through the “seed” of promise. (Gen. 3:15; Eph. 1:8-12) Jesus told his disciples on the day of his death: “I make a covenant with you, just as my Father has made a covenant with me, for a kingdom, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom.” Yet the Father would select those who would rule with him and assign them places in the Kingdom government.—Matt. 20:23; Luke 12:32; 22:29, 30; Rom. 8:16, 17.
Because of this delegated authority to rule, along with the 144,000 associate kings, it can be properly said that Jesus has a kingdom, the Messianic kingdom. Daniel envisioned the then future installing into office of Jesus and these “holy ones,” saying: “To the Ancient of Days [Jehovah] he gained access, and they brought him up close even before that One. And to him there were given rulership and dignity and kingdom, that the peoples, national groups and languages should all serve even him. His rulership is an indefinitely lasting rulership that will not pass away, and his kingdom one that will not be brought to ruin. . . . ‘And the kingdom and the rulership and the grandeur of the kingdoms under all the heavens were given to the people who are the holy ones of the Supreme One.’”—Dan. 7:13, 14, 27.
This constituted authority operates within Jehovah’s universal kingdom or governmental arrangement, so that when Jesus begins to rule as the Messianic king, heavenly voices appropriately sing out: “The kingdom of the world did become the kingdom of our Lord [Jehovah] and of his Christ [or, one anointed by God], and he [Jehovah] will rule as king forever and ever.” Thus, the Messianic kingdom derives its power and authority from Jehovah, who is Universal Sovereign over all his creation.—Rev. 11:15; 4:11; John 5:19, 30.
On being resurrected, the glorified Jesus Christ waited at the right hand of his Father until the time for him to begin ruling from the heavens over mankind in general. (Acts 2:32-36; Heb. 10:12, 13) This corresponds to the time when a loud voice from heaven proclaims: “Now have come to pass the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ.” (Rev. 12:10; compare 11:17,18.) With Jesus, 144,000 chosen from among mankind rule as joint heirs, it being said of them that they “will be priests of God and of the Christ, and will rule as kings with him for the thousand years.”—Rev. 20:6; 14:1, 3.
By the end of his millennial reign, all humans on earth who have availed themselves of Kingdom benefits will stand perfected before God. They will be comparable to Adam before he sinned. Having accomplished what his Father assigned him to do, Jesus then “hands over the kingdom to his God and Father.” (1 Cor. 15:24-28) No subsidiary kingdom remains between Jehovah and obedient mankind thereafter. Messianic aspects end, but Jehovah’s kingdom continues eternally. The rulership of Christ and his kingdom heirs is “never . . . brought to ruin” and is “not . . . passed on to any other people.” (Dan. 2:44) The special authority delegated will be merely absorbed again by Jehovah. “Then the Son himself will also subject himself to the One who subjected all things to him, that God may be all things to everyone.”—1 Cor. 15:28.
The benefits of that Kingdom by Christ will be “everlasting,” though it actually will have been only “age-lasting,” in one sense of the Greek word ai·oʹni·os used at 2 Peter 1:11. Relatively speaking, his reign of 1,000 years is eternal. In contrast to the length of rule of any human king who has reigned on earth, Jesus’ kingdom over mankind continues on for many centuries. His reign continues for longer than the age length of the oldest man in human history, namely, Methuselah, who lived 31 years short of a millennium. (Gen. 5:27) Besides that, Jesus will still be an honorary king, for his position of kingship does not end simply because he turns the Messianic kingdom back to his Father. He will always have an interest in mankind, for as Jehovah’s Master Worker he is represented as saying: “The things I was fond of were with the sons of men.” (Prov. 8:31) And he will always have a special warm spot in the hearts of humans because of all that he did for them. This accords with what Hebrews 7:17 says about Jesus’ being “a priest forever.”
Just what Jesus and his joint rulers will be assigned to do after the millennial reign, the Bible does not say. In describing the citylike New Jerusalem in the heavens, Revelation 22:5 mentions those who “rule as kings forever and ever,” evidently referring to Jesus’ associate rulers, the 144,000 making up his bride. We can be sure that Jehovah has many fine privileges and opportunities in store for them in caring for assignments of service throughout his creation.